[1] C64.COM
[1.1] What is C64.COM?
[1.2] Who are the people behind C64.COM?
[1.3] Why are you doing this?
[1.4] What services are you providing?
[1.5] How was C64.COM born?
[1.6] How can I find my favourite piece of software?
[1.7] Why some ZIPs I downloaded contain many versions of the game?
[1.8] Can't I just download all the software at once?
[1.9] Is it possible to get some kind of instructions with the games?
[1.10] Can you write or publish an article about this-and-this topic?
[1.11] How can I help out with the site?
[1.12] Can I send you original C64 software with box, manual and everything?
[1.13] Can I send you disk images of my favourite C64 software?
[1.14] Can I send you my collection of C64 floppies with all kinds of old files?
[1.15] What caused the drop in the number of games on the site around May 2006?
[1.16] Isn't the software still copyrighted?
[1.17] What do you think about turning C64.COM into a wiki or translating it into my favourite language?
[1.18] What are demos, cracks, groups, images and all this terminology?
[1.19] Help, I'm getting a high nostalgic fever!

[2] Real C64
[2.1] What is C64?
[2.2] Where can I buy a real C64 with a joystick and a few games?
[2.3] How much are my real C64 and accessories worth nowadays and where to sell them?
[2.4] Can I play and watch downloaded software on my real C64?
[2.5] Can I copy my old C64 floppy disks and datassette tapes to my PC?
[2.6] How do I transfer files between my real C64 and my PC?
[2.7] How does PC–C64 file transfer work with special C64 cartridges?
[2.8] How does PC–C64 file transfer work with an X1541 cable?
[2.9] How does PC–C64 file transfer work with an SCSI hard drive adapter?
[2.10] How does PC–C64 file transfer work with audio tapes?
[2.11] Can I use a PC 5.25 inch floppy drive for C64 floppies?
[2.12] How do I load a piece of software?
[2.13] How do I format a floppy disk on the C64?
[2.14] How do I use a turbo tape?
[2.15] Can I hook up my C64 to a PC monitor?
[2.16] How can I get my broken C64 repaired?
[2.17] How can I use the C64 for making music?
[2.18] How to use SID2MIDI?
[2.19] How can I learn to program on the C64?
[2.20] Why would anyone bother using such an outdated computer?

[3] Emulated C64
[3.1] What is an emulator?
[3.2] Which emulator should I use?
[3.3] How do I run the emulator?
[3.4] How do I load a piece of software?
[3.5] How can I run C64 software by double-clicking on it in Windows?
[3.6] In VICE, when I attach an image file it complains "Cannot attach specified file".
[3.7] How to load software that consists of two or more disk images? For example, how to load California Games?
[3.8] When loading a game on my C64 emulator, I get stuck in the loading screen. How to proceed?
[3.9] In The Rocky Horror Show, what should I do when the game asks "The Rocky Horror Show +7 Unlimited TIME ? [C=] key to position PLAYER down/left!"
[3.10] What to do when a program asks me to insert another disk?
[3.11] The contents of Disk 2 of my favourite piece of software look like garbage. Is the disk broken?
[3.12] I have downloaded Maniac Mansion and I am having problems. Disk 2 won't load.
[3.13] My favourite piece of software rejects side B. For example, when I go to play side B of G.I. Joe, I get "No Joe here, turn the disk over."
[3.14] What to do when a program asks me to insert a blank disk?
[3.15] What to do when Airborne Ranger asks for a roster disk or when Legacy of the Ancients wants a character disk?
[3.16] How do I play games that require a joystick?
[3.17] In VICE, when I use joystick emulation on my keyboard, the lights at the bottom of the screen flash, but the game doesn't react.
[3.18] Can I use my old C64 joystick for playing C64 games on my modern computer?
[3.19] Where in the emulator can I find special keys of the C64 keyboard?
[3.20] I can't get F1 (or some other key) to work in VICE.
[3.21] How can I use my modern (non-C64) joystick for playing C64 games?
[3.22] How can I save my game state and continue playing some other time?
[3.23] Why doesn't my favourite software work in my favourite emulator?
[3.24] Why does my C64 emulator shut down after a few minutes?
[3.25] My C64 emulator doesn't start properly or gives alarming error messages.





[1.1] What is C64.COM?
C64.COM exists purely to preserve the culture around the Commodore 64 that might otherwise cease to exist due to the fact that the mainstream computer culture has moved away from the Commodore 64 in the early 1990s. The site contains exclusive material about the Commodore 64 home computer that we all love. There is detailed information about present C64-related events and past happenings in the scene and game culture alike. We at C64.COM aim to save and store an important part of the history of the people who participated in the active era of the Commodore 64.

[1.2] Who are the people behind C64.COM?
See the separate credits page. In general, we are a bunch of independent individuals who are C64 enthusiasts (read: geeks by nature :). C64.COM is our hobby and a project that we maintain on our free time.

[1.3] Why are you doing this?
We love the Commodore 64 because we all have a personal past with it. We know there are a lot of other people who share our passion, so we keep up C64.COM to share the joy and experiences with as many people as we can. We don't work for profit. The site has expenses, however, which include paying for the server, internet connection, buying original C64 software and hardware, keeping in contact with C64 related people, and doing constant updates on the site. Your donations and your positive feedback help us do more for the site and community.

[1.4] What services are you providing?
We want to spread the word about the Commodore 64. Our main task in achieving this is to build and maintain a vast database of C64 software. The database will serve as a source of nostalgia for our visitors. We are working on extending this database to cover other kinds of data that express and define the C64 phenomenon and culture.

The database consists of software, all downloadable. For each piece of software we have described as accurately as possible the people who were involved in its production. We also offer multiple screenshots of each item that enable you to take a fast nostalgic trip or to get a quick overview. In addition to software, we have interviews with several famous people from the heydays of the C64 game industry and lots of people who were involved in the scene. There's also the occasional article on other C64 related topics.

[1.5] How was C64.COM born?
C64.COM, as you now see it, started as C64hq.com on May 1st 2002. It was the brainchild of Andreas Wallström who had been brewing the idea of a new, better C64 site. Around its fourth birthday, in 2006, C64hq.com merged with another C64 site called C64.COM. The result of the merger was the contents of C64hq.com combined with the name and logo of C64.COM. C64hq.com no longer exists as a separate web site. The old C64.COM as it was before the 2006 merger is also off the cyberspace. C64.COM continues to expand with content updates as well as evolving site design. We aim to incorporate more and more different kinds of data about the C64 to the site.

[1.6] How can I find my favourite piece of software?
Use the site's search engine to find your favourite piece of software by name. In the same engine, you can also search for all the productions that for example Bob Stevenson has done graphics for. Just put his name in there, click in the check box and hit seek. When the result is displayed, click on any piece of software to read more about it. Then click on the download link and save it to your computer. All of the software is zipped, so you need 7-Zip (or WinZip or similar) for the PC or StuffIt Expander if you're on the Macintosh.

If you cannot find your favourite software on C64.COM – even if you have totally forgot its name – send a request to us by e-mail. Write as much as you remember about the software. We have lots of software in our private collections that we constantly sort and add to the database. Your requests help us add wanted stuff first.

[1.7] Why some ZIPs I downloaded contain many versions of the game?
The different versions are different cracks of the game. Each crack contains their own combination of cheats and extras such as game instructions, separately loadable titlescreen or bugs and bugfixes. We store all the different cracks we can find because each of them is part of the C64 scene history.

[1.8] Can't I just download all the software at once?
We don't provide mass downloads of software because it is against our principle of spreading knowledge about C64 software and their authors. We invite you to spend time browsing the database, getting to know the software and the people behind them, and downloading what you like instead of blindly hauling a large stash of files.

[1.9] Is it possible to get some kind of instructions with the games?
We have instructions to some games and we work to have more of them online. You can find a link to the instructions right below the credits display of the game. The list of all games that have instructions on C64.COM you can see behind a link in the Features box on the right of the Games page. If you can't find what you're looking for, you can drop us an e-mail and we might be able to dig up the instructions for you.

[1.10] Can you write or publish an article about this-and-this topic?
We have lots of ideas but cannot write it all by ourselves. If you are knowledgeable in the topic and feel capable of writing a professional article, please contact us by e-mail. You can of course just send in your idea for an article and we might find somebody else to write it.

[1.11] How can I help out with the site?
Send us an e-mail and tell us what you want to work with and what areas you are skilled in. You could be interviewing people, adding C64 software, writing articles, or doing something else that you do well. Or you can simply donate money.

[1.12] Can I send you original C64 software with box, manual and everything?
We are always interested in receiving original C64 games and other software. They often help us find correct credit information and confirm that our disk images work like the original piece of software. We may also scan the box cover and type in the instructions, so even software missing the original box or a disk or a tape are welcome. All donators will be honorably thanked on the site. E-mail us for details.

[1.13] Can I send you disk images of my favourite C64 software?
We are happy to receive D64 and T64 images. That said, you probably don't need to bother sending just one image file as we very likely have it already in our collections. We have lots of software that we just haven't yet had time to put online. Before sending small amounts of images, e-mail us with some names of the software that you have, possibly along with the names of the crackers. This way we can get some idea if we already have similar images and save both your and our time. Don't send us files that you downloaded from other C64 sites.

We are very much interested in (large) collections of image files whose source can be identified. Please e-mail us and describe your collection (how many images, where are they from). Please remember that all software is added to the site through our update procedure where we ensure that the software works, take proper screenshots and write down credit information.

[1.14] Can I send you my collection of C64 floppies with all kinds of old files?
Please do so! We have people around Europe who can pick up your C64 floppy collection and transfer them to PC. The deal is always: We transfer your disks and get exclusive access to the content. You will of course receive a complete copy of all (working) disks on a CD, and we will not spread any private material without your permission.

[1.15] What caused the drop in the number of games on the site around May 2006?
When the old C64.COM and C64hq merged, we wanted to keep up the quality of C64hq; games that load up, as complete credit information as possible, and informative, correctly taken screenshots. We had to throw out quite many games from the selection of the old C64.COM. In fact, all of them. Since then, new games have been added to the site at a fast pace. In 2008 the collection should more or less cover the contents of the old C64.COM site, including several games that the old C64.COM did not have. We are always open to your suggestions as to what should we put online next. Drop us an e-mail and let us know what are your favourite C64 games.

[1.16] Isn't the software still copyrighted?
It is, but most companies don't mind their old products being spread as long as you don't make money with them. C64.COM exists to preserve what was in the past. We believe that without C64.COM and similar sites, knowledge and interest in the Commodore 64 would eventually die, which would be the loss of the copyright owners as well as us C64 lovers. We like to think of C64.COM as a digital museum – we put C64 related items on display so that the legend can carry on. Since C64.COM is a museum, we are archaeologists who dig vast digital (and concrete) archives and arrange our findings in the museum.

[1.17] What do you think about turning C64.COM into a wiki or translating it into my favourite language?
The C64.COM philosophy is to present consistent data that goes through our quality control. While we want to encourage visitor feedback and submissions, we won't allow it to happen in an uncontrolled fashion. That's why we will keep the site as it is, with the administrative functions separated from the public pages.

What comes to translating the site into other languages than English, we're not going to do it. Translations multiply our work of maintaining the site and make us dependent on people who are skilled translators. However, we wish to please speakers of other languages for example in the form of making it easy to find non-English software titles.

[1.18] What are demos, cracks, groups, images and all this terminology?
A group is a bunch of people who have hooked up to create demos, crack software, arrange parties or to do other computer stuff together.

A demo is a multimedia presentation made by a group. Demos are feats of programming, art, music and design, or sometimes just a means of communication.

A crack is a copy of a piece of software with the copy protection removed. A game crack often contains cheats and other modifications to the original game; the crack might use a lot less disk space, contain bugfixes and levelcodes, or present a title screen that you can load separately from the proper software.

A disk image is a digital copy of the contents of a C64 floppy disk. Disk images are most often stored in D64 format. Similarly, a tape image is a digital copy of the contents of a C64 tape, usually stored as a T64 file or a TAP file. You can load disk and tape images in a C64 emulator just like you would load real floppy disks and datassette tapes on a real Commodore 64.

Please note that it is technically incorrect to call a disk image or a tape image by the name ROM. ROM stands for Read Only Memory whereas disk images are both readable and writable.

[1.19] Help, I'm getting a high nostalgic fever!
That's nothing to worry about. We share the same symptoms. Enjoy your stay and please share your experiences and emotions by commenting on the C64 software.

[2.1] What is C64?
C64, or Commodore 64, is the best selling personal computer model of all time. Commodore International released the C64 to the market in 1982 and it was sold for over a decade. Even though the C64 might nowadays be considered as old and outdated technology, there are lots of people who still think the C64 was something special and who have warm memories from the golden age of the C64. C64.COM is a site for those people. We at C64.COM aim to preserve everything related to the C64.

[2.2] Where can I buy a real C64 with a joystick and a few games?
Unfortunately, production of the Commodore 64 ceased in the early 1990s. After that the only way to get your hands on one has been to buy it from an individual. Our experience tells that there are rather plenty of Commodore 64's available at on-line auctions such as eBay, and many of them are in perfectly usable condition.

When you buy a C64 computer, pay attention to where you buy it from. In the US they use the NTSC standard whereas European C64s use the PAL standard and Asian ones have the SECAM standard. This means that software bought from one continent may not work in a computer bought in another. This should not be a problem when you buy things from your own or neighbouring countries.

Make sure you have a floppy drive if you want to run software on floppies and a tape drive (a.k.a. datassette) for software on tapes. As a rule of thumb, European games often come on tapes, and American games tend to come on floppies. Some software also comes on cartridges which you can plug straight into the computer with no additional devices.

A C64 can be plugged into a TV set using an analog antenna cable (coaxial cable with RF connector).

[2.3] How much are my real C64 and accessories worth nowadays and where to sell them?
You can sell your C64 gear where others would buy it, see [2.2]. If you have original C64 software or some less common hardware, also we at C64.COM might be interested in buying it. Drop us an e-mail.

Old C64 hardware is sought after by many enthusiasts. Even faulty items may be useful to somebody as spare parts or just for the looks. You can check around what prices others are asking to get an estimate. A simple rule of thumb might be that a used C64 with a joystick or two, a cassette and/or floppy drive that all work perfectly might be worth a few dozen euros/pounds/dollars. Rare models, unopened packages or signatures from famous C64 people of course raise the value.

[2.4] Can I play and watch downloaded software on my real C64?
Yes, you can. You only have to transfer the downloaded files to the C64 and load them there. See [2.6].

[2.5] Can I copy my old C64 floppy disks and datassette tapes to my PC?
Yes, you can. You need a device that can read your C64 floppies and tapes and turn them into D64 and T64 or TAP image files. See [2.6].

[2.6] How do I transfer files between my real C64 and my PC?
There are several ways to transfer files between a PC and a C64. Here's a quick overview of a few.

The most modern approach is by special cartridges for the C64 that enable you to connect modern equipment to the old C64 and transfer large amounts of data fast. Two such cartridges are MMC Replay and IDE64. MMC Replay provides the C64 with the capability to read files from a SecureDigital card, among other things. IDE64 provides the C64 with the capability to read files from a CompactFlash card and to operate IDE devices such as CD-ROM drives, hard drives. See [2.7].

There is a special family of cables called X1541. They enable you to connect the C64 floppy drive to your PC's 25-pin parallel port (a.k.a. printer port). This cable together with suitable PC software makes it possible to make your PC operate the C64 floppy drive. With the X1541 series of cables you can also give your C64 access to read files from your PC's hard drive. See [2.8].

There are special adapters for connecting a SCSI hard drive to a C64. This provides large and fast file storage for the C64 but is rather clumsy if used for file transfer between PC and C64 – one has to unplug and plug the hard drive from one computer to another. See [2.9].

Finally, because the C64 datassette (a.k.a. tape drive) works on perfectly normal audio tapes, you can transfer files as audio, the datassette doing the work on the C64 end, and your sound card doing the work on the PC end. See [2.10].

[2.7] How does PC–C64 file transfer work with special C64 cartridges?
There are several C64 cartridges that are capable of making it easy to transfer files between a C64 and a PC. This is the modern and fast way of file transfer.

MMC Replay is a multi-functional C64 cartridge that includes a card reader for Secure Digital flash memory cards and also the older MultiMediaCard flash memory cards. You can transfer D64 files to a Secure Digital card on your PC and then load the programs from the D64 files on the Secure Digital card via the MMC Replay cartridge. You can also save C64 floppies as D64 images on the Secure Digital card and copy them to your PC.

IDE64 is a C64 cartridge for connecting an IDE hard disk drive and CD-ROM drive to a C64. It is also equipped with a CompactFlash storage card slot. The CompactFlash slot can be used for transferring files between a PC and a C64 just like Secure Digital cards with MMC Replay. In addition, you can burn your files to CD on your PC and then read the CD on your C64.

Vesalia Online
An online shop that sells the MMC Replay cartridge.

Individual Computers
Latest manuals for the MMC Replay cartridge.

The IDE64 Project
Homepage of the IDE64 cartridge.

[2.8] How does PC–C64 file transfer work with an X1541 cable?
The X1541 series of cables connect a C64 disk drive to the PC parallel port. For modern computers, the XM1541 or XA1541 cables are good choices. The cable enables a PC equipped with suitable software to operate the C64 disk drive. The Star Commander gives you full power of copying files between your PC's hard drive and a floppy in the C64 disk drive. Note that with The Star Commander you don't need a C64 computer at all, only the C64 disk drive. 64HDD gives enables your C64 to load files from your PC's hard drive.

Connecting your PC and Commodore Disk Drive
A concise but detailed exposition on the subject.

The X1541 Shop
Here you can order X1541 series of cables and all kinds of other cables and adaptors that are mostly related to transferring data between Commodores and PCs.

The Star Commander homepage
The Star Commander is the ultimate DOS shell that can handle the C64 disk images and copy files and disks between the PC and a Commodore 1541/1570/1571/1581 drive.

Nicholas Coplin's C64 projects
Includes the 64HDD software that makes your PC act as a C64 hard drive.

[2.9] How does PC–C64 file transfer work with an SCSI hard drive adapter?
There are several different SCSI hard drive systems available for the C64 that were manufactured already in the 1980s. Later, enthusiasts have built their own systems. You may find more on all these from their respective web pages. The actual adapters you can of course find from online auctions such as eBay, or from the enthusiasts themselves. For IDE hard drives, see [2.7].

The Commodore Knowledge Base – Lt. Kernal
Information about the early Lt. Kernal hard drive subsystem for the C64.

The Unofficial CMD Homepage
Information about CMD products such as the more advanced HD series hard drives for the C64.

Click Here Software
Online store and information resource for the CMD HD series hard drives and other CMD and GEOS products.

[2.10] How does PC–C64 file transfer work with audio tapes?
First it is good to understand the limitation of file transfer by audio tapes. Programs that load in many parts are served in D64 files on C64.COM. These programs assume they are loaded from disk and thus may not work when loaded from tape. In case the whole program is one file only, there is a good chance you'll succeed.

If the file to transfer is inside a D64 file, you first have to transfer the file into a PRG file using the 64Copy program. If the file is inside a T64 file, it is optional to extract the PRG with 64Copy. Convert the PRG or T64 file into a WAV file using the WAV-PRG program. Record that WAV to a cassette by playing the file in your favourite media player and recording the output with a cassette player. You can then load the cassette on your datassette. Here's the procedure as a diagram:

D64 → PRG → WAV → cassette

T64 → WAV → cassette

64Copy Central
C64Copy, the utility for converting D64 → PRG.

WAV-PRG and Audiotap
WAV-PRG and Audiotap, the utilities for converting PRG → WAV.

[2.11] Can I use a PC 5.25 inch floppy drive for C64 floppies?
Unfortunately the PC 5.25 inch floppy drive is no good for reading C64 floppies. The C64 floppy drive mechanism is much more complex than that of PC floppy drives.

[2.12] How do I load a piece of software?
To load a program from disk, enter LOAD"*",8,1. This loads the first executable program on the disk. To run the program after it has loaded, enter RUN. Some programs have loaders that run automatically.

If there's several programs on one disk, you can load the directory listing by entering LOAD"$",8 and after that LIST. If the list is longer than fits the screen, you can stop it by pressing Run/Stop. Naturally you can load the program of your choice by typing something like LOAD"GIANA SISTERS",8,1. To load a program demo from tape, enter LOAD and press Return, or alternatively press Shift and Run/Stop. The C64 then asks you to press Play on tape. Do it. The datassette will then seek slowly to the start of the next program on the tape and load it. You will see a text like FOUND AIRWOLF when the start of the program is found. After a few seconds the actual loading starts. If you are impatient, press the Commodore key to skip the seconds.

If there's several programs on one tape, you have to wind the tape to a position a bit before the start of the program you want to load before starting to load. There's no direct way to get a tape's "directory listing" but there is a lengthy procedure to the same effect: Wind the tape to the beginning and reset the datassette's counter. Load each program on the tape, rebooting the C64 after each loading has finished. Write down the names of the loaded programs along with what the datassette counter shows. That's your directory listing.

[2.13] How do I format a floppy disk on the C64?
Type OPEN 15,8,15,"N0:NEW LABEL,00":CLOSE 15, replacing New Label with a label of your choice. This is rather slow. A much faster way is to use a special cartridge such as Action Replay VI or The Final Cartridge III.

[2.14] How do I use a turbo tape?
First load and run the turbo. Then fast forward to the program you want to load. Write ←L (left arrow and L) and press Return. Then it starts to load. Turbos like Turbo 250 and Turbo Tape 64 give you a "closed screen", i.e. they turn the screen off to be able to load faster.

[2.15] Can I hook up my C64 to a PC monitor?
The short answer is yes, although probably not in the way that you mean. The long answer is that the C64 outputs an analog TV antenna signal what no PC monitor accepts. The solution is to get an analog TV card for your PC, hook up your C64 into the TV card and then watch your C64 as analog TV on your PC. The picture quality will be about the same as if you plugged the C64 straight to an analog TV set.

[2.16] How can I get my broken C64 repaired?
Unfortunately we lack information on how to repair C64 hardware. There may be some miscellaneous repair instructions on the net, so googling around may help. Repair instructions might be of the form "if no joystick works, replace this-and-this chip".

One thing that is worth checking is that if the computer doesn't even power on, try replacing the fuse in the C64's power source.

[2.17] How can I use the C64 for making music?
The C64 has a unique sound chip that you can make songs with using a tracker. There are several trackers for the C64 and one that works on PC, called GoatTracker. People have also used the C64 for controlling MIDI devices.

GoatTracker
C64 music tracker for use on PC without a C64 emulator.

JCH's Music Editor
Classic C64 tracker for use on C64 or PC with a C64 emulator.

CyberTracker
Newer C64 tracker for use on C64 or PC with a C64 emulator.

Commodore 64 and Music
Michael Braisher's article on C64.COM about using the C64 in music in various ways.

[2.18] How to use SID2MIDI?
The SID2MIDI tool, created by Michael Schwendt, is freely downloadable from the below address. Documentation is also available.

Remix64.com news on 2007-08-10
News stating what's up with the SID2MIDI tool.

SID2MIDI for Windows
Windows GUI version of SID2MIDI

SID2MIDI documentation
Documentation for SID2MIDI

[2.19] How can I learn to program on the C64?
If you are a beginner, it might be best to start with the BASIC programming language as it is easily accessible on the C64. The best starting guide is the Commodore 64 User's Guide. This book usually comes with real C64 computers. If you do not have it, you can find copies of it at your local library or on online auctions such as eBay.

For more advanced programming, you will want to program in machine language using an assembler. You might want to start learning machine language from the Commodore 64 Programmer's Reference Guide, also available at local libraries or online auctions. Additionally, you can search for information on the net.

One popular native C64 assembler is Turbo Macro Pro (TMP). See below for a link. TMP can benefit from a RAM expansion unit (REU), although one is not required for assembler programming.

Note that you can do assembler programming perfectly well on a C64 emulator. Furthermore, some emulators such as VICE can also emulate a REU. You can enable REU in VICE from the menus Settings → Cartridge/IO settings... → REU settings.... Make sure Enable REU is checked and choose a suitable REU size, say, 512 kB.

Commodore 64 User's Guide
A digitized plain text version of the Commodore 64 User's Guide at Project 64.

Commodore 64 Programmer's Reference Guide
Digitized plain text and HTML versions of the Commodore 64 Programmer's Reference Guide.

Commodore 64 Programming
Links and information about programming in the machine language of the C64's 6510 processor.

The Turbo Assembler Homepage
A site dedicated to Turbo Assembler, a popular native C64 assembler. The site features Turbo Macro Pro, an advanced collection of modifications on Turbo Assembler.

[2.20] Why would anyone bother using such an outdated computer?
Why did tens of millions of people use it in the 1980s? Because it is fun. It is still the same computer with the same software that kept the public amazed and entertained for over a decade. The fact that modern computers perform faster and have higher standards of sound and vision doesn't dim the brilliance of the C64 and many of its applications. There is a lot to discover in the world of C64, and we dare you to go out and do it! Not to mention the warm feeling of nostalgia.

[3.1] What is an emulator?
A C64 emulator is a program that lets you run C64 software on your present computer. You can think of a C64 emulator as a C64 computer with a disk drive and datassette, living inside your desktop, laptop or handheld computer. Emulators are a cheap, easy and most often sufficient way to get nostalgic with old C64 software.

[3.2] Which emulator should I use?
There are several C64 emulators available, depending on your computer platform, and you can choose your favourite one. We recommend the VICE emulator.

The VICE Emulator
An open source C64 emulator for Windows, Unix, Mac OS X, OS/2, Amiga, Acorn RISC OS, BeOS, QNX 6.x, GP2X, and MS-DOS.

CCS64
A C64 emulator for Windows and MS-DOS.

Frodo
A free portable C64 emulator for BeOS, Unix, Mac OS, AmigaOS, RISC OS, Windows, EPOC and other platforms.

Power64
A C64 emulator for Power Macintosh.

Pocket Commodore 64
A C64 emulator for Pocket PC.

c64psp
A C64 emulator for PSP.

[3.3] How do I run the emulator?
VICE (on Windows): Download the ZIP package of the latest version of VICE. Unpack it into a new directory. Note that there is no separate installation program to run, the emulator is ready immediately when you unpack the package. To start the VICE C64 emulator, open the VICE directory and double-click on the X64 file with the Commodore logo. This launches the actual C64 emulator where you can run any C64 software that you download from C64.COM. The other executable files are emulators for other old computers in the Commodore range.

CCS64 version 3.x: Download the ZIP package of the latest version installer. Unpack it into a new directory. Double-click on setup.exe to run the installer and answer Yes to all the questions. After this you can run CCS64 from your Start menu Programs folder.

[3.4] How do I load a piece of software?
See [1.6] on how to find software. Once you have downloaded and unpacked the files, do as follows.

VICE: Run VICE. The simplest way is to drag and drop the unpacked file to the VICE window. This way VICE loads the first loadable program in the image file. If you need to load some other program than the first one, then instead of drag and drop, choose from the menus File → Autostart disk/tape image... Then locate the files you previously unpacked. Double-click on one of them. After a few seconds or a minute the program should start. The time you have to wait depends on if you have set True Drive Emulation in the Options menu. Not having it on means shorter wait, but some software doesn't work like that. Hint: If the waiting seems long, use the Warp mode to speed up the emulation while loading. Do this by pressing Alt-W. When the loading has finished, press Alt-W again to return to normal speed.

CCS64: Run CCS64. Press Alt-8. Then find one of the files you previously unpacked and press F2 for booting the disk fast. After a few seconds the program should start. If the software doesn't seem to load properly, press F3 instead of F2 fo booting the disk normal speed.

Power64: Run Power64. Go to Devices → Disk Drive #8 → Insert Floppy Disk, or press Command-D. Find the files you previously unpacked. Double-click on one of them. In the window that pops up, locate the program and double-click on it to load. If the software has more than one disk, we recommend to insert also the other disks before you start. This is also done under the Devices menu.

[3.5] How can I run C64 software by double-clicking on it in Windows?
You have to set up file associations manually. In Windows, when you double-click a D64 file that you have obtained by unpacking some ZIP file that you have downloaded from C64.COM, Windows complains that it can't open the file. Say that you want to select the program from a list. A list emerges. If you see Vice C64 Emulator in the list, choose it. Otherwise click Browse... and locate VICE's executable file called "x64.exe" from where you have installed it.

Note that you can always run C64 software without setting the file associations, see [3.4]. Also note that if you launch a D64 image file by double-clicking it, VICE will only load the first executable file on the image. Most often this is what you want, though.

[3.6] In VICE, when I attach an image file it complains "Cannot attach specified file".
Make sure you're attaching a D64 or T64 file, not a ZIP file. Unpack the contents of the ZIP you have downloaded and try again. It is also possible to make VICE load D64 files from inside a ZIP file but this is sometimes impractical as you don't get to choose which file from the ZIP you'd like to attach.

[3.7] How to load software that consists of two or more disk images? For example, how to load California Games?
For a concrete example, let's see how to load California Games on the VICE emulator. The ZIP you downloaded (california_games.zip) contains several versions of California games. One of the versions is a 2-disk crack by Remember (REM) and one is a 3-disk crack by Eagle Soft Incorporated (ESI). First make sure your VICE has True Drive Emulation turned on – see that there is a checkmark in the menu Options → True Drive Emulation. Then autostart the disk "California Games [Side A_REM].d64". Press space to skip the crack intro screen when it appears. Then appear the game instructions that you can skip by pressing Run/Stop (that is the Escape key on your PC/Mac). Then you can Enable or Disable the fastloader (whichever is fine) – press E or D. You can then skip the title screen by pressing Y, or see it by pressing N. Finally press L to load old hiscores. Soon you should see the game start. When the game asks for Side B, press Alt-8 and insert "California Games [Side B_REM].d64". Then press space. That should get you going.

In general, when software comes on two or more disk images, there's always one disk image that you boot from. This disk is usually named Side 1, Side A, Boot Disk, Program Disk, or similar.

[3.8] When loading a game on my C64 emulator, I get stuck in the loading screen. How to proceed?
The first thing to do is try pressing keys. Usually the joystick Fire button, Space or Enter lets you proceed. Remember to try the Fire button on both joystick ports (see [3.17]). Sometimes it helps to press one of the F-keys F1, F3, F5 or F7. Try also pressing Run/Stop (see [3.19]). If none of these help, the reason may be that you don't have true drive emulation on in the VICE emulator (see [3.4]). Turn it on and start loading the game all over again.

[3.9] In The Rocky Horror Show, what should I do when the game asks "The Rocky Horror Show +7 Unlimited TIME ? [C=] key to position PLAYER down/left!"
The screen you are stuck in is the cheat selection screen. The cracker has modified the game and lets you decide which cheats you want to use. Press Y if you want to use the unlimited time cheat, or N if you don't want to use it. The text about the Commodore key (C= key) means that while playing the game you can activate this position cheat by pressing the Commodore key (see [3.19]).

[3.10] What to do when a program asks me to insert another disk?
VICE: Press Alt-8 (or choose from the menus File → Attach disk image → Drive 8) and locate the image file of the requested disk on your computer. Double-click on it. Now the second disk is inserted and you can continue with the program.

CCS64: Press Alt-8. Press the left arrow key to exit the display of the currently inserted disk, and then locate the image file of the requested disk on your computer. Choose Select Disk (F1 or F3 will do this) to insert it without booting or running anything. You can now continue with the program.

Power64: If the program has two or more disk images, insert all images before you run it, see [3.4].

[3.11] The contents of Disk 2 of my favourite piece of software look like garbage. Is the disk broken?
It's normal that all but the first disk side of multisided software look like a mess when you try to list their contents. This is so because the software uses its own loading mechanisms for the data and doesn't bother to list the data files in the conventional directory listing. This method of loading is also used as a kind of copy protection.

[3.12] I have downloaded Maniac Mansion and I am having problems. Disk 2 won't load.
Make sure you insert Disk 2 instead of booting from it. If the problem persists, download the game again. Software on C64.COM is tested to work at least to the start of the program and in many cases throughout all stages of the program.

[3.13] My favourite piece of software rejects side B. For example, when I go to play side B of G.I. Joe, I get "No Joe here, turn the disk over."
The disks on C64.COM are tested to work at least until the start of the program, so probably the fault is not in the disks. Or if it is, try downloading them again. Make sure you use the latest version of your C64 emulator (VICE is assumed here). Make sure you have True Drive Emulation on (in VICE menus, choose Options and make sure you see a checkmark next to True drive emulation). When G.I. Joe asks you to "turn the disk over", make sure to attach the side B image called "G.I. Joe [Side B].d64" (in Vice menus: File → Attach disk image → Drive 8, and then double-click on the right file). If the software asks you to press a key after turning the disk over (usually they do), try pressing the key or joystick fire button at least a few times. Sometimes the first time doesn't work if you're very quick.

[3.14] What to do when a program asks me to insert a blank disk?
VICE: When you're running VICE and the program asks for a blank disk, press Alt-8 to attach a disk image. Instead of choosing any file, type in a new filename to the File name textbox (e.g. "my blank disk.d64"). Then click on the Create Image button. This creates a new file on your hard drive that is an empty disk image. Now you can attach it in the usual way by double-clicking on it.

CCS64: Press Alt+8 and go to the directory where you want to create the disk. Move the cursor to the last row called "(Dir) ." and press F1. Type a filename and make sure the extension ".d64" is there, otherwise the file won't be visible in the emulator. Press Enter to create the disk (or ESC to cancel). Attach the newly created disk image in CCS64 as usual, see [3.10].

[3.15] What to do when Airborne Ranger asks for a roster disk or when Legacy of the Ancients wants a character disk?
Airborne Ranger, Legacy of the Ancients and many other games that allow you to save your game state often save the state on a separate disk. This save disk is sometimes called a roster disk, a character disk, or similar. Separate save disks are not included in the games on C64.COM because you can easily make your own as needed. All you have to do is provide a blank disk (see [3.14]) and use the functions provided by the game to turn the blank disk into a roster/character disk. Usually you can do this in the main menu after loading the game.

[3.16] How do I play games that require a joystick?
C64 emulators let you use your PC keyboard as if it was a C64 joystick.

VICE: When you run VICE with the default setup, the joystick in port 2 is controlled with the numeric keypad keys 2, 4, 6, 8, and the Fire button is your rightmost Ctrl key. When you press these keys successfully, you see little red and green lights turn on and off at the bottom of the VICE window. Some games only react to the joystick in port 1. Choose from the VICE menu Options → Swap Joystick (or Alt-J as a shortcut) to change the joystick port. Then the same numeric keypad keys control the joystick in port 1 instead.

If you are using a laptop or you don't have the numeric keypad for some other reason, you can change the keys that control the joystick from the VICE menu Settings → Joystick settings... From there you can choose Keyset A for Joystick in port #2, and then click the button Config Keyset A, and set some other keys for the joystick.

CCS64: To setup your keyboard to work as a joystick, do as follows. Press F10 to enter the menus. Choose Options... → Input.... Usually games use the joystick port 2, so set the Control Port 2 to show Joystick and the Mode to show for example Key-Set 2. Make sure that Key-Set 2 is configured properly by choosing Define Joystick Keyset... and choosing keyset 2.

[3.17] In VICE, when I use joystick emulation on my keyboard, the lights at the bottom of the screen flash, but the game doesn't react.
The game is probably expecting joystick input from another joystick port (there's two on the C64). Switch joystick port by pressing Alt-J or choosing from the menus Options → Swap Joystick. Note that some games don't use joystick at all.

[3.18] Can I use my old C64 joystick for playing C64 games on my modern computer?
Yes, you can. You need a special adapter and a driver that understands the old joystick. See the Connecting Vintage Controllers to Your New PC site for details.

[3.19] Where in the emulator can I find special keys of the C64 keyboard?
VICE: The default keymap is positional, which means that the keys on the C64 keyboard are found in the same geometric location on your own computer's keyboard, with the exception of keys whose meaning is obvious, such as F1, F2, etc. For example, on a usual PC keyboard, Commodore = Left Ctrl, Run/Stop = Esc, £ = Insert, Up Arrow = Delete, and Ctrl = Tab.

CCS64: Versions 3.x of CCS64, include a keyboard chart named "CCS64 Keyboard Layout.pdf". You can find it in the folder where the emulator was installed (the default is "C:\Program Files\Computerbrains\CCS64 V3.x"). Some important keys are Commodore = Left Ctrl, and Run/Stop = Esc.

Power64: You can read about keyboard configuration in the Power64 manual. To gain access to some keys on the C64 keyboard, you have to turn on the C64 Keyboard mode from the menu Options → Mac Keyboard and Options → C64 Keyboard. Some important keys are Commodore = Option, Run/Stop = Escape.

Power64 Documentation – 5.4 Keyboard
Documentation on how to use the keyboard in the Power64 emulator.

[3.20] I can't get F1 (or some other key) to work in VICE.
A keypress will not reach the emulated C64 if it is used in joystick emulation. Check your joystick configuration from the menu Settings → Joystick settings.... If F1 (or some other key) is used in a joystick keyset, you can disable that joystick by choosing None instead of Keyset A or Keyset B.

[3.21] How can I use my modern (non-C64) joystick for playing C64 games?
Before using your joystick in an emulator, you of course first have to install the joystick to work in your computer. But this you probably have done already.

VICE: While running VICE, choose from the menus Settings → Joystick settings.... You should be able to select your joystick in the port #1 and port #2 dropboxes. Don't forget to also calibrate your joystick in the VICE settings.

CCS64: When running CCS64, press Alt-I to enter the Input menu. For Control Port 1 or 2, choose the Mode to be PC Gameport 1 or 2, depending on where you have plugged your PC joystick. Remember to calibrate your joystick.

[3.22] How can I save my game state and continue playing some other time?
Depending on the game, there might be a save/load feature built-in. How to use it depends on the game. You should consult the game manual for this, see [1.8]. However, with C64 emulators there is a very handy way to do game saving and loading. This way is called snapshots.

VICE: When you want to save your game, press Alt-S. You don't see any notice, but the game state is saved as an emulator snapshot. To load the previously saved snapshot, press Alt-L. Remember that if the game uses the disk during gameplay, when loading a snapshot you should have the same disk image attached that you had when you saved the snapshot. You can even have several game positions saved at the same time. These can be handled from the menu Snapshot → Save snapshot image..., and Snapshot → Load snapshot image....

CCS64: Press F12 to save a snapshot. CCS64 will ask you for a filename for the snapshot. Later, when you want to return to a previously saved snapshot, press F11 and find the file.

[3.23] Why doesn't my favourite software work in my favourite emulator?
Emulators can never reach perfect emulation. Probably your favourite emulator has problems emulating some specific feature that your favourite software uses. Try to contact the author of your favourite emulator and ask for details or a fix. You may also try another emulator.

[3.24] Why does my C64 emulator shut down after a few minutes?
The reason is probably because your emulator is shareware and you haven't registered it. Power64 and other such C64 emulators run for free only for 10 minutes. If you want to use your emulator more, you have to register. Consult the emulator's documentation or web page for more information.

[3.25] My C64 emulator doesn't start properly or gives alarming error messages.
You should contact the emulator's developers and report the problem to them. Perhaps downloading the latest version of the emulator might solve the problem.

» F.A.Q. - look here before you send off an email.

» Credits - the list of people who made all this possible.

» Scene interviews - C64 sceners answer 20 questions about their time in the scene.